This week’s late game on the Friday Night Football slate also doubles as an installment of the Pac-12 After Dark, with the Colorado Buffaloes (3-2) clashing against the #13 Oregon Ducks (4-1) in Eugene, Oregon.
Oregon flew out of the gate with a 2-0 record in Pac-12 conference play, but banged-up Colorado stands in their way of a 3-0 start.
The Ducks and their pesky defense are set on penetrating the Top 10, but they’ll need a convincing victory to persuade the pollsters to bump them up a couple spots in the next AP Poll.
Oregon lost their first game of the season to Auburn 27-21, but rattled off four straight wins. In those four wins, Oregon steamrolled their opponents 150-22.
Colorado Buffaloes (3-2) vs. #13 Oregon Ducks (4-1)
Kickoff: 7pm PT
Location: Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR
Point Spread: OR -21
Money Line: OR -1200 / COL +780
Since 1992, Oregon is 6-3 versus Colorado, both straight up and against the spread.
Oregon is 3-0 at home this season in Eugene, but the Ducks are only 2-3 ATS. These aren’t your daddy’s high-flying Ducks anymore. The Ducks average 34.2 points per game, and the under hit in Oregon’s last three games.
After starting the season 2-0, the Colorado Buffs went 1-2 in their last three games. The Buffs are only 1-1 in the Pac-12 this season. On the road, the Buffs are 2-0 straight up and ATS.
The Colorado Buffs played two overtime games earlier this season, and went 1-1. In Week 2, they defeated their old “Big 8” rival, Nebraska, 34-31 in OT. The next week in Boulder, the Buffs lost a 30-24 heartbreaker to Air Force in an overtime thriller.
The Buffs bounced back with a 34-31 victory over Herm Edwards and Arizona State in Tempe. However, last week, Colorado lost 35-30 to the visiting Arizona Wildcats. The Buffs suffered a slew of in-game injuries, but they blew a 20-14 halftime lead. They also got screwed with an abundance of flags, with some old-school home cooking by the officials.
“Next man up is not a cliche, it’s what’s required,” said Colorado coach Mel Tucker. “There’s really no excuse and no explanation for that collapse.
Colorado’s spotty defense coughs up 31.6 points per game. Their porous secondary gives up 313 yards per game. However, the Buffs rely on their offense to win games. Colorado cranked out 30-plus points in four out of five games this season.
If senior QB Steven Montez gets hot, then the Buffs can keep this one close. Montez threw 10 touchdowns this season with only 2 interceptions. With star wide receiver Laviska Shenault sitting out with a core muscle pull, Tony Brown stepped up and caught 29 passes, and scored four touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Alex Fontenot averages 4.5 yards per carry with four touchdowns. Fontenot has an uphill climb against one of the most difficult run defenses in college football, that allows only 95 yards per game. Overall, the Colorado Buffs will be tested against Oregon, and the top-ranked defense in the Pac-12.
Stifling Ducks D
Oregon is getting accolades for their swarming defense, which is ranked #6 in the nation, allowing only 9.8 points per game. Oregon obliterated Nevada and Montana by a combined score of 110-9. Pac-12 teams have played the Ducks a bit more competitively, but they still outscored their conference foes Stanford and Cal by 38-13.
Oregon’s rushing attack averages 166 yards per game. Sophomore running back CJ Verdell is still nursing an ankle injury that occurred in the Cal game, and he’ll be a game-time decision. Verdell scored 14 combined touchdowns in his freshman season. Backup RB, Travis Dye, averages 5.2 yards per carry, but he’s yet to find the end zone this season.
Oregon QB Justin Herbert decided to stay in school for another year instead of declaring himself eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft. Herbert has tossed 15 touchdowns and only 1 interception this season, with a 70.5 completion percentage. TE Jacob Breland is Herbert’s favorite target with 23 receptions and 5 touchdowns. Herbert currently is riding an impressive in which he’s thrown at least one touchdown in the last 33 games.
Herbert and the Oregon Ducks are a 21-point favorites in this conference game against Colorado.